I’ll be on the radio tonight…

Fictional Kevin on the Radio

Tonight I’ll be on Free Thought Radio with Larry Rhodes and Shawnee Casteel at 6pm Eastern time. I’ll be talking about how even atheists can be irrational and suffer from logical fallacies.

I’d love for you to listen in and, possibly, call in.

It will stream live online here:

http://wozoradio.com/listen/

The call in number is (865)333-5937

Hope to “meet” you on the phone tonight.

Kevin

 

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Atheists: Don’t Be an Ass – How to Talk to Christians

Atheists: How to Talk to Christians

Most of my friends are Christians at one level or another.

As an atheist I often see discussions between atheists and Christians where each are trying to persuade the other there way of thinking is correct. Typically this devolves into alienation, ad hominem and anger.

Last night I was interviewed by Larry Rhodes on the Free Thought Radio Hour about this topic and I lined out some ways atheists can talk to Christians in civil and mutually beneficial ways. We even had an interesting Christian caller who demonstrated this technique perfectly.

If you would like to listen in, click the link below (it’s an mp3 of the show). You can write click to download or click and it will open in a new tab to listen:

Click Here to Listen or Download

Feel free to leave your comments, questions and rants below. I’m happy to learn from you.

 


I’m on the Radio tonight…

Fictional Kevin on the Radio

Tonight I’ll be on Free Thought Radio with Larry Rhodes at 6pm Eastern time. I’ll be talking about how an atheist can have a discussion with a Christian about faith in a reasonable way.

I’d love for you to listen in and, possibly, call in.

It will stream live online here:

http://wozoradio.com/listen/

The call in number is (865)333-5937

Hope to “meet” you on the phone tonight.

Kevin


Call In Radio Show

Radio-Program-Picture

I’m going to be on a radio show this evening (in about 1/2 an hour – 6pm Eastern) and if you want to listen in or call in you can:

http://wozoradio.com/listen/

The topic is “Separation of Church and State.” Love for people of faith and no faith to call in.

 


Fundamentalism

If vaccines cause global warming, then why do we still have monkeys? Checkmate, atheists.

 

At least I thought this was funny – Kevin


Science or “Science”?

Two weeks ago I met a Young Earth Creationist.

He seemed a nice enough fellow. A pilot. Obviously smart. We had a pleasant conversation about several Evolutionary Biology topics.

We met at a meeting of the Atheist Society of Knoxville. It is a somewhat open meeting, so anyone can attend, but many of my friends treated him, well, poorly.

My personal history from faith to atheism would never have happened if kind atheists had not helped me find honest, kind answers. I hoped to at least be kind with him.

He pointed me to an article on Creation.com which he felt could be a starting point for a meaningful discussion. It is here:

http://creation.com/its-not-science

I am going through it with my thoughts, maybe a couple references, so I can discuss intelligently if I meet him again at the meeting tonight. This is, of course, by design. (That was a clever Darwinist pun.)

Here goes…

On what is science (this is kind of a baseline thing one must agree on if we are to discuss, well, “science”.)

From the article:

they [anti-creationists] will cite a list of criteria that define a ‘good scientific theory’. A common criterion is that the bulk of modern day practising scientists must accept it as valid science.

Hmmm…well, no. That’s not a well understood definition. A “good scientific theory” is a  well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.

It seems as if this article is saying a theory is simply something we all agree on. “Well tested” means it has been repeatedly observed or confirmed through experiment or in the natural world. That’s more than a “majority vote,” that is a variety of scientists doing the work of prediction (more on that in a minute), experimentation and observation.

The beginning of this article makes me wonder a little if the writer understands the difference between “hypothesis” and “theory” in the scientific sense.

In the vernacular, “theory” means very little. “I have a theory the housekeeper stole your jewelry.” But in scientific terms, that would be referred to as a “hypothesis.” If it were tested (like by checking the home video monitor) and found to be true, then it would become a theory.

Again, from the article:

Another criterion defining science is the ability of a theory to make predictions that can be tested.

According to Live Science (and many, many other places) here is the definition/description of the scientific method:

The steps of the scientific method go something like this:

  1. Make an observation or observations.
  2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information.
  3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what’s been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
  4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.
  5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary.
  6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. “Replication of methods and results is my favorite step in the scientific method,” Moshe Pritsker, a former post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and CEO of JoVE, told Live Science. “The reproducibility of published experiments is the foundation of science. No reproducibility – no science.”

Some key underpinnings to the scientific method:

  • The hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, according to North Carolina State University. Falsifiable means that there must be a possible negative answer to the hypothesis.
  • Research must involve deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is the process of using true premises to reach a logical true conclusion while inductive reasoning takes the opposite approach.
  • An experiment should include a dependent variable (which does not change) and an independent variable (which does change).
  • An experiment should include an experimental group and a control group. The control group is what the experimental group is compared against.

The sentence from the Creation article seems to indicate and understanding of this method: A theory should be able to make predictions and those predictions should be able to be replicated and/or falsified.

But the Creation article goes on to say:

they [anti-creationists] question the value of the creationist model in making predictions.

Creation is, by definition, magic. It says “why does the eye work the way it does?” and answers with “God made it that way.” How can that be tested or falsified? I’m having a hard time seeing it. The article then goes on to correctly state the point I just made:

Since, they say, creation fails their definition of ‘science’, it is therefore ‘religion’, and (by implication) it can simply be ignored.

Creationism has no real bearing on science.

But then the article goes on to ask “What is Science?”

Many attempts to define ‘science’ are circular. The point that a theory must be acceptable to contemporary scientists to be acceptable, basically defines science as ‘what scientists do’! In fact, under this definition, economic theories would be acceptable scientific theories, if ‘contemporary scientists’ accepted them as such.

This is a straw man argument. The article is using an uninformed and untrue statement, attributing it to “scientists” then refuting it.

The Scientific Method is as defined above. It pretty obviously doesn’t fit this straw man. It is not about consensus, it is about replication.

Their next argument is also specious:

In many cases, these so-called definitions of science are blatantly self-serving and contradictory. A number of evolutionary propagandists have claimed that creation is not scientific because it is supposedly untestable. But in the same paragraph they claim, ‘scientists have carefully examined the claims of creation science, and found that ideas such as the young Earth and global Flood are incompatible with the evidence.’ But obviously creation cannot have been examined (tested) and found to be false if it’s ‘untestable’!

This may be a little confusing, so let me see if I can break down how the author of this article came to this erroneous conclusion.

In some cases, creationists make claims something happened or “is the way it is” because God made it that way. Those claims are, obviously, untestable by the scientific method.

But in some cases (as we will see in a moment in the article) they want to claim a certain effect we see in nature (like the Grand Canyon) as formed through natural means but much more quickly than current scientific theory states. Those claims – claims natural process created a certain effect, ARE testable.

By lumping both together here in one paragraph, the author creates another straw man.

Wow, I am getting bored with this already…I think I’ll revisit this at another point.

If you want to read more about creationism and specifically Young Earth Creationism from REAL scientists, go here:

You can register for the forum and actually ask questions and get answers.

 


Good Versus Evil

good versus evil

Tom Halcomb awoke from the deepest sleep to a gentle nudge on the shoulder. As he opened his eyes, he jumped back, falling out of the bed. There, crouching next to the bed, was The Being.

He was human like in appearance, but huge, with white, luminescent skin and bright blue eyes. He appeared naked.

“Don’t be afraid, Tom,” The Being soothed, “I will never harm you. I love you. I am here with a special gift.”

Tom screamed, “Who are you? WHAT are you? How did you get into my house? You need to leave NOW!”

Again, the soothing voice: “Listen to my voice, Tom. It will calm you. Be at Peace, my son. All shall be revealed and you will have peace and joy beyond measure.”

As Tom listened, his fear somehow dissipated.

The Being unfolded himself and walked around to Tom. Tom could see him clearly now and the glow from his skin bathed the room blue-white light. Now with a clear mind, he could examine The Being more closely. He was massive, bowing his head slightly to keep from hitting the ceiling. He was thickly muscled with no visible genitalia.

He reached out, his massive hand enveloping Tom’s and encouraging him to sit on the bed. “Sit here next to me. I have great news for you.” Somehow the voice and the gentle touch gave Tom a confident euphoria.

Tom sat in awe next to The Being.

“You are highly favored and I have come personally to give you a special message and a mission, my son.” His voice was deep.

“Are you an angel?” Tom whispered.

The Being let out a joyful laugh. “More than an angel, Tom. I am the one who has loved you and all of your brothers and sisters since the Creation.”

“I never believed in God.” Tom bowed his head, his words were so quiet as to become little more than breaths.

“Do not be ashamed, my son, shame is from the Evil One. Look at my eyes and see the love and acceptance I’ve always had for you.”

Tom looked into The Being’s glowing eyes. Somehow their light penetrated his mind, his brief shame was replaced with an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance.

“I came here personally, my son, to give you a special message, a special place and a special mission. You can accept the mission or not, your place will always be secure with me. I gave you free will. I gave you knowledge. I gave you wisdom. You are free to choose.

“I have loved you and all my children from the foundations of the world. There are no conditions on that love. I accept you and all my children. I do not ask for worship or belief to receive my love. I do not require sacrifice or for you to act contrary to your nature to receive my love.

“Conditional love is only required by the insecure. By the inferior. It comes from The Evil One. His insecurity is what drives my children to hate, to kill, to wage war, to somehow believe a superior being is petty and jealous and angry. The Evil One promises them joy and then plagues them with guilt and shame. He requires them to deny their basic needs in order to ‘please’ him, to feed his insecurity. The Evil One’s greatest evil is he only cares for himself. In his mind, you exist only to feed his insatiable ego.

“For millenia The Evil One’s message has had many prophets. Well received and well compensated. These prophets have preached his lies and deceived the minds of most of my children.

“But the tide is turning. From the creation you have all had the ability to grow, to reason, to explore the universe. As you have done so, you have discovered so many of its wonders and have steadily given up your superstitions. The Evil One never wanted you to have knowledge because he knew if you did, his lies would be exposed and my children could no longer be deceived.

“In each generation I have chosen a prophet  as well – someone to remind The Created I love them and only want for them to be happy. I am asking you to be my prophet. I know you are a man who is rational. I know you have never believed in me. Now you see me. Now you know I am real. You can touch me. Hear me. I exist. I am real.

“Being a prophet of love to my children will not be easy. They will not believe you. The Evil One has so deceived my children they will see you as the evil in their world. Your message of love will burn in their ears. You will be constantly attacked and criticized. You will be a pariah.

“But do not fear. I will watch over you. I will not allow them to kill you. The peace and joy you feel now I will keep in your heart so every day will be a happy one for you, no matter what others try to say or do to you.”

“What am I to do?” asked Tom, bewildered by The Being’s offer.

“Your task is simple: You are to go the places and people I lead you to and give them simple messages. Sometimes it will be a word of encouragement. Sometimes it will be a word of instruction. In the moment I will give you the exact person to speak to and the exact words to say.”

“What if they don’t listen?” Tom was already thinking through the consequences.

“Ah, they often will not. Do not let it worry you. You only role is to be the messenger, if they choose to ignore the message, their lives not yours will bear the burden. Your message of my love will empower most but anger some.

“If you get into a place where you are lost, where you are confused, simply call out my name and I will come to you and give you whatever you need. The Evil One, born from the beginning of time, will work hard to keep them from hearing your message. The Evil One will try to confuse you. Call my name and I will come and give you clarity.”

“But what is your name? Shall I call you Yahweh or Jesus or…?” his voice trailed off in question.

The Being laughed a hearty laugh. “Those are not MY names! I go by many names, but not those! The Evil One has so slandered my names to my children, my name, the name of love, the name of freedom they could call upon is rarely spoken except in disdain.”

“So what is your name?”

“You can call me ‘Lucifer’.”